UK military lends spectrum to Olympics

UK regulator Ofcom is drafting in the military to help meet demand for wireless spectrum at the forthcoming Olympic Games in London.
The regulator estimates it must assign 20,000 wireless frequencies for the event, which takes place in July, and plans to meet that demand by borrowing spectrum from public sector bodies including the Ministry of Defence. That will be paired with civil, digital dividend and unlicensed spectrum to meet demand.
“Ofcom recognizes that there is no room for complacency,” notes chief operating officer Jill Ainscough, adding. “The UK’s airwaves are already among the most intensively used in the world. The London 2012 Games will significantly increase demand.”
Spectrum allocation will be handled by a custom-built system designed to minimize interference. A network of sensors is also being deployed to identify potential interference before problems arise, and a team of Ofcom engineers will be on hand to sort any clashes.
Ofcom identifies applications including wireless cameras, radio microphones, event scoring, sports commentaries and basic wireless communications as flash points for spectrum demand. It predicts up to 26,000 media professionals will also descend on London, placing an additional strain on capacity.